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The Legend of Orpheus in Bulgaria: A Love Story for All Time

Elena Stoyanova and Vladislav Stoynev are students in journalism at Shumen University in Shumen Bulgaria.

Eurydice and Orpheus
For many, Orpheus is a mythical person, but many others believe in his undying love for his beloved wife Eurycice.

 

Apart from the world’s best yoghurt and the well-known Bulgaria rose oil, Bulgaria is also famous for the fact that the ancient Thracian singer and musician Orpheus was born and lived on its land.

Where the exact birthplace of Orpheus is, we don’t know for sure, but the tradition is that’s somewhere in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains in southeastern Bulgaria, what was once the great land of Thrace, what we call in Bulgarian ‘Trakia.’

In southern Bulgaria, we can find many ancient ruins, coins and other objects dug up by archeologists going back to the time of the old Trakia world.

According to Greek tradition, Orpheus was son of the God of the River Oeagros, and the nymph Calliope. Legend says that he lived in Thrace around 1,400 B.C.

For many, Orpheus is a mythical person, but many others believe in his undying love for his beloved wife, Eurydice. But Eurydice had a tragedy: she was bitten by a snake, and died.

Orpheus played such sad songs that all the gods and nymphs wept. Then he went down to the Underworld, and with his lovely music he softened the heart of Hades, who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth again. But she was not to survive the journey back, and vanished forever, a sad story.

The legend says that Orpheus’ lyre was carried by the Muses up to heaven, and put among the stars. His soul returned to the Underworld, where he was reunited with great love Eurydice.

We learn that Orpheus was a creator of mystery religions, and there are many poems in ancient Greek called Orphic poems, which were used in mystery religion rites.

Nowadays in Bulgaria, there are many literary competitions in the area of the town of Smolyan high in the Rhodope Mountains. These competitions try to teach children about the life of Orpheus, and his special story.

He is a kind of local legend, and people see him as an example of a pure and sacred love between a man and woman. His story is about what a man can do for a woman through great love, even bringing her back from the underworld with the power of his music.

 

Elena Stoyanova
Elena Stoyanova, co-writer of this article.

 

Vladislav Stoynev
Vladislav Stoynev, co-writer of this article.

 

It is a tale about how really powerful music can be. They say the music of Orpheus used to enchant even the hearts of the beasts. The genius of Orpheus stays with us as a source of everlasting love for music and his beloved wife Eurydice.



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